Arriving at the venue for the Markarian fall 2022 runway show, I felt immediately transported to the 1920s. The opulently decorated Prince Ballroom — with its mosaic-tile ceiling and gold-painted chairs — was the perfect backdrop for the “The Great Gatsby”-themed presentation, where Nicky Hilton Rothschild and “Sex and the City” author Candace Bushnell sat front row. The models played into the fantasy in glittering ball gowns finished with elegant headpieces designed by Gigi Burris. The collection sent a clear message: people are ready to dress up again.
Unsurprisingly, scenes from the Roaring Twenties were on founder Alexandra O’Neill’s mood board when she was designing the collection. The designer, whose fans include Demi Lovato and First Lady Jill Biden, fell in love with New York City’s Jazz Age while reading F. Scott Fitzgerald novels and Dorothy Parker stories, she told POPSUGAR backstage. Given her affinity for luxurious fabrics, intricate detailing, and bold embellishments, the glamour of the era’s costumes immediately spoke to her.
Enter the brocade gowns, slip dresses, and feathered hats that graced the Markarian runway. Sequins covered many of the garments, from a mint-green, off-shoulder draped dress to a red, midriff-baring midi. True to the brand’s ethos, the palette included energizing jolts of color, often in natural shades inspired by O’Neill’s midwest upbringing.
“This season was an ode to my favorite childhood memories of growing up in Colorado,” she says. The finale gown, drenched in a lush neon green, recalls mountain sunsets she no doubt witnessed in her hometown. Paisley prints and metallic embellishments mirror wildflower fields and starry night skies. “I took those elements and fused them with the glamour of New York City’s Jazz Age,” O’Neill says.
The collection sent a clear message: people are ready to dress up again.
While the designer will certainly slip into sequin or beaded pieces when the occasion calls for it, she wears a simple T-shirt and jeans on most days — and the collection has something for both types of dressers. A long leather jacket, brown printed coat, and white chambray shirt will appeal to those who crave day-to-night options. But mostly, O’Neill is catering to customers eager to return to event dressing. And it made for a stunning show.